Presently used metallic bioimplants are non-degradable and remain permanently inside the body necessitating secondary surgery for removal. To overcome such problems, biodegradable (BD) metallic implants (Fe-Mn, Mg, Zn) are being developed. Mg based alloys are recently being commercialized for dental, trauma and orthopaedic applications. However, their usage is not extended to the applications which require longer period due to higher degradation rates and hydrogen evolution. These can be reduced by incorporating fine grain structure and coatings. Fe-Mn based alloys are recently gaining importance due to high specific strength and low cost. The challenge with Fe-Mn based alloys is lower degradation rates which can be addressed by miniaturizing. Presently, these BD implants are being developed by conventional techniques. Additive manufacturing (AM) is an advanced manufacturing technique that makes complex and custom made components with fine grained structure, controlled porosity and degradation rates. In addition, the challenges in fabrication of Mg based implants due to issues with forming and machinability can be overcome by AM. The reported studies on AM are preliminary. The use of soft tissue anchors (STA) as implants is projected to increase due to wider usage for fixing sports injuries as well as repairing wear and tear of tendons, ligaments and cartilage. This study envisages design of STAs, development of Mg and Fe-Mn alloy powders with suitable composition and demonstration of AM process for the manufacture of prototypes. It also involves characterization (microstructural, mechanical and biological) of AM built and surface modified coupons as well as components.
Light weight high performance components such as motor casing and battery enclosures require the assembly of multiple parts with complex geometry for the efficient design of electric vehicles. Design innovation to reduce the part counts without compromising the desired structural, thermal and mechanical performances is needed but limited by the ability of the traditional processes. The recourse is to produce parts with an innovative design by printing additional features on a cast or extruded part using Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) thereby reducing part counts and the need for elaborate assembly processes. WAAM is a novel technique and involves rapid melting, deposition and solidification of materials to build geometric features layer by layer on a base. An understanding and precise control of the WAAM process are needed to produce a defect free, structurally sound and dimensionally consistent component.
The project aims at WAAM based printing of three dimensional features on cast / extruded aluminium alloy parts to enhance their functionality. The work packages include the development of in-situ monitoring and process control systems, computer-based models to predict the structure, property, residual stress and distortion and defect generation and printing of parts with enhanced features as demonstrators. These demonstrators will be put under standard tests to check their performances for further commercialization and mass production. The tasks will be carried out by all the partners in a systematic manner to ensure the reproducibility of the developed technology and completion of the overall targets.Read
Commercially available Total Mandibular Joint (TMJ) replacement implants do not fit properly in Indian patients. Hence, patient specific anatomical TMJ implants seem to be a better alternative than the existing stock implants. Additionally, these commercial implants lack the hierarchical bony architecture. Therefore, it is hypothesized that an anatomical TMJ implant with additively manufactured bio-inspired functional lattice structures will have improved biomechanical performance. The aim of the manufacturing investigations are to specifically control the process parameters for powder bed fusion with a laser beam (PBF- LB) to adjust the morphology and topography of lattice structures, cryogenic cutting of the final contour and select and optimize the finishing processes such as stream finishing, centrifugal disc finishing or electropolishing.
The Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) additive manufacturing process is suitable for tool making due to the small batch size and the ability to produce curved cooling channels that are not conventionally possible. When processing standard steel for hot work and plastic moulding tools H13 with LPBF, cracking must be prevented by using high preheating temperatures or by significantly limiting part size. To overcome these limitations, a modified hot work tool steel is being developed that can be processed at preheating temperatures of 200°C or less to enable industrial use. For efficient parameter selection, software for LPBF process development will be adapted and used. For a high surface quality of the functional outer surface and the complex cooling channels, polishing with a polymer rheological abrasive in a semisolid to liquid medium is used. The process chain to produce a tool is demonstrated and the tool is implemented in a plant environment.
The powder-feed metal Additive Manufacturing (AM) systems can realize the Functionally Graded Materials (FGMs) but remain inefficient and challenging to control the localized material composition. Therefore, this project proposes a novel approach, "Multi-axis multi-material wire arc additive manufacturing (MAMM-WAAM)," to efficiently fabricate large-scale metallic objects of FGMs. The proposed system will be a robot cell consisting of two multi-wire plasma welding torches attached to two 6-axis Robotic Arms mounted on the curved tracks. This system will produce large-scale FGMs objects of size up to 2m×2m×1m. Also, a Computer-Aided Process Planning (CAPP) software will be developed for efficiently operating the proposed system. New algorithms for (i) representing FGMs CAD models, (ii) build strategies, (iii) volumetric simulation, and (iv) collision detection will be developed for this CAPP software. The system will demonstrate its capabilities through industrial case studies.
Urban agriculture is integral part of sustainable city development, providing ecosystem services like air quality regulation, cooling, an appealing appearance and food production. Urban agriculture moved as trend into urban environments in form of vertical farming, rooftop and community gardening. Besides space, soil as cultivation substrate is scarce. Textile is light-weight and adaptive compared to other substrates and thus very suitable for soilless urban cultivation systems. The proposed project aims at the development of a re-useable textile cultivation substrate following a plant performance based approach. In addition to plant and system specific properties, the dimensional stability of the textile will be taken into account during the development to allow for re-usability of the substrate through cleaning. Thermo-mechanical and a biological cleaning process will be developed and evaluated. Subsequently, existing urban farming systems will be technically adapted to the textile substrate to improve resource-use efficiency and include an appropriate substrate cleaning process. In combination with a market analysis and target group segmentation (community gardening; urban farming for self-sufficiency; professional indoor, greenhouse and vertical farming) the value proposition and the financial feasibility will be translated into novel business models to support the market growth of urban farming. Circular, leight-weight and resource-efficient urban farming with re-usable substrate may inspires urban inhabitants, triggers sustainable consumer behavior and leads to a societal transition towards bioeconomy.
One of the challenges in cultivation in a hydroponic system with closed irrigation system is the optimized nutrient regulation due to inaccurate information of composition, although many researchers describe the determination of concentration of individual ions in solution as the key information for optimized operation. Current practice is the determination of conductivity, pH, redox potential and temperature. The consequence is the limited possibility to adjust nutrients to the needs of individual crops to avoid deficiency or eutrophication. The operators therefore periodically drain and replace the nutrient solutions.
The aim of the project is to develop an on-site multi-ion monitoring system for automated on-line control of nutrient input in vertical hydroculture systems with closed circulation systems based on feedback-controlled supply of nutrients. The monitoring system enables the effective use of nutrients for optimal plant growth by targeted regeneration of nutrient solution and thus contributes to a reduction in water pollution due to the premature nutrient disposal into the environment. Nutrient monitoring is based on direct potentiometric determination of relevant ions using ion-selective sensors. The choice of ions is characteristic of the growth of five crops selected. The sensors are integrated into a microfluidic system, which enables automated sample collection and adjustment of the measurement matrix. Calibration, data acquisition/processing are carried out using "machine learning" algorithms developed in the project to compensate for non-linear effects due to ion interference/cross-sensitivity and electrode/temperature drift. Prototypes will be provided to end users in India for beta testing.Read
Indoor Vertical farming can make an important contribution to feed the growing global population (estimated to be 9.6 bn by 2050) especially in regions where the climatic conditions have significant restrictions on crop production. In Indoor farming the crops are cultivated in vertical stacked layers with the help of soilless, hydroponic or aeroponic growing system. Vertical farms can be established in towns, cities, desert and degraded lands for growing vegetables and fruits with a high economically and nutritious value inside protected structures with precision agricultural methods [Kalantari et al, 2017] It is a highly efficient system compared with the conventional approach of farming [Ismail et al, 2017]. Nutritional management through fertigation is the basic requirement in vertical farming as the plants are grown in inert media. Major and micronutrient management is the major task for successful vertical farming. Sensors are required for precise measurement, control and supply of nutrition to the plants. There is urgent need of detection of NPK, Ca, Mg, EC and pH for fertigation management. These sensors should act automatically and connected to fertigation unit through IoT for close loop system.
Fertilizers and pesticides can exhibit moderate to lethal levels of toxicity in humans. Although they are used in farm-fields to boost agricultural productivity, these chemicals move up through the food chain, which leads to biomagnification. Most of the reported methods for the detection of fertilizer and pesticides in the soil are expensive, have a short shelf life, and are difficult to realize as a device outside laboratories. By combining the complementary expertise of the Indian and the German partners, our project aims to address this unmet challenge by developing an efficient multiplexed device for the detection of nitrate (a major fertilizer-based soil/ground water contaminant in India and Germany) and organophosphates (a class of pesticides) in soil samples. The device will comprise a microfluidic platform integrated with printed electrodes based on analyte-sensitive ink formulations and will facilitate the regular screening of nitrate and organophosphates to monitor the quality of soil samples. Envisioned for commercial marketing, the device will be an important step towards sustainable agriculture, which will significantly improve the livelihood of rural farming communities in the countries and help in safeguarding water resources from pollution. Additionally, through the development of a user-friendly soil testing device in this project, awareness on environmental protection will be enhanced.
The project aims at improving the process water treatment in industries in order to reduce harmful toxicological effects in receiving environments. We seek to recycle process streams and recover resources, and thus improve the techno-economic feasibility of Zero Liquid Discharge plants. One promising technology to address the problems of desalination and dye removal is Capacitive Deionization (CDI). Compared to reverse osmosis, flowCDI can deal with highly concentrated brines and suffers less from organic fouling. Micropollutants, will be removed by a synergetic combination of CDI and Advanced Oxidation Processes. The novel treatment technologies will be scaled-up and piloted in the textile industry. The findings will enable replication and transfer to other key industries. Water quality and treatment efficiency will be monitored by emerging effect-based methods (EBM), which are complementary to chemical target analyses. The advantage of EBM is that they provide a holistic indication of toxicological effects from complex mixtures typical of process waters, which covers unknown oxidation by-products and synergistic effects. A bioassay test battery will be developed and transferred from Germany to India. EfectroH2O targets the United Nations Environment Programme Sustainable Development Goals 6 to “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” by contributing to the reduction of water consumption in water scarce regions such as India.
Green and economic catalytic processes are at the base of long-term sustainable industrial value-chains. At present, however, fossil resources constitute the primary feedstock for the production of fuels and organic chemicals. In this project, a consortium of skilled researchers of academic institutions and industry from India and Germany will work together to convert CO2 with lower olefins generated from renewable sources to value-added intermediates. Key to our approach is using CO2 as oxidant for the epoxidation of lower alkenes generating CO as valuable by-product, and as carboxylation agent for the C-H bond of lower alkenes generating acrylic acid. Within the project, nanoporous catalysts tailored to CO2 conversion will be industrialized, the reactions scaled-up and proven in an industrial environment and the ecologic impact evaluated by life-cycle assessment. The novel value chain gives access to bulk intermediates, where the entire carbon originates from sustainable sources.
The objective of this project is to develop a cost-effective hybrid two-wheeler fulfilling the requirements of reduced CO2 and other emissions and improved fuel economy. IIT Madras, India and RWTH Aachen, Germany will develop and integrate simulation models of the engine and the vehicle along with the electric drive for sizing the important components and will arrive at the suitable topology and control strategies. The hybrid electrical drive control units and the battery management system will be developed by VEMAC GmbH, Germany. TVS Motor Ltd., India will do the design, component procurement and integration on test bed and vehicle. The proposed hybrid control strategies will be experimentally evaluated and fine-tuned in the laboratory in IIT Madras on a special test rig. Integration on the two-wheeler, calibration for performance and evaluation on the test bench and outdoor test track will also be done by TVS Motors. One prototype vehicle will be evaluated in Germany for fine tuning the control logic. Finally, the potential for reduction of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions will be evaluated against a targeted value of 25% in the chassis dynamometer in TVS Motors. The system will also be evaluated for meeting BS VI norms that will come into effect by April 2020 in India.
The project aims to establish a test production line for printed electronic labels by roll-to-roll gravure printing. The label comprises a first coil (to receive 13.56 MHz from a smartphone), a rectifier (to convert AC into DC), a ring oscillator (to generate 1-1000 Hz, ~10 mA), a resistive sensor (to control the output frequency of the ring oscillator) and a second coil (to generate magnetic field to be detected by the Hall sensor of the smartphone. The resistive sensor can detect a change in temperature or humidity or a damage in the label. The proposed label has huge market potential in the field of anti-counterfeiting, food packaging and biomedicine cold storage logistics. A proof-of-concept label has been successfully tested by the consortium partners using standard electronic components (TRL-4). The consortium brings experts of circuit design, functional inks, organic transistors and roll-to-roll gravure printing at one platform to guarantee the success of the project.
Industry 4.0 will be driven by two basic technologies: AI and Robotics – and especially the combination of both – allowing robots to learn skills and tasks without explicitly programming them. Learning and optimizing complex and interactive robot manipulative skills through reinforcement learning algorithms is a multifaceted challenge and an unsolved problem. With the goals of (i) significantly reducing robot programming costs and (ii) reducing robot cycle times, project plans to developing reinforcement learning algorithms running in massively parallelized, cloud-based physics engines. This system learns and optimizes task-specific robot and machine skills that can be transferred to and deployed on physical robots. Project plans to develop concrete demonstrations of novel solutions for real use cases stemming from the manufacturing industry and warehouse automation. The solutions will rely on robot learning in a cloud-based simulation environment as well as optimization during real-world execution.
Wastewater treatment (WT) is an essential prerequisite for a healthy society. 90 % of the world-wide used water enters the environment untreated. Most rural and periurban regions of developing countries have no access to a wastewater treatment plant (WTP), because current mid/big size WTPs require large power supply and space. Currently septic tanks or soak pits are used in many regions that could be replaced with modular and lightweight WT units, which are easy to transport and handle in hard-to-reach locations. The realization of these required systems is possible through the development of high-strength and lightweight materials.
By using of durable materials, the operating and maintenance costs can be kept as low as possible, which is an important decision criterion concerning the orders. The aim of this project is the realization of an innovative lightweight, modular WTP made with textile reinforced concrete (TRC). The advantage of a modular WTP design lies in a decentralized production facility, whereby all the necessary plant components have to be delivered to the construction site and assembled.
German sewage treatment plant manufacturers are expecting more than 20,000 WTPs to be sold in the European market by 2023. In addition, German SMEs are expecting a very high demand for WTPs due to efforts regarding new wastewater quality regulations by governments and organizations in China and India. About 250,000 of prefabricated WTPs are needed in India.Read
The increased demand for lightweight materials with high specific strength, stiffness and better tribological properties have accelerated the development, diversification and use of metal-matrixcomposites (MMCs). The objectives of the present investigation are development of processing method for carbon (C) fibre reinforced aluminium (Al) MMCs by liquid metal infiltration process. Preforms of high modulus continuous C-fibre will be produced by advanced textile technologies like 3D-weaving in a near-net shape form based on the expertise of ITA der RWTH Aachen University, Germany and the squeeze infiltration processing of aluminium composite will be carried out in the CSIR-NIIST, India. The Indian Industrial partner, Fenfe Metallurgicals will develop and supply the suitable Al-alloy for the infiltration and industrial scale processing and evaluation of connecting rod and heat sink components. The German industrial partner, CIKONI GmbH will provide the conceptual and detailed part design based on the textile and infiltration process as well as the structural analysis. The developed near-net-shape component will be evaluated and on successful development the Industrial partners will manufacture the components for Indian and German OEMs.
Down-sizing and light weight design of all automotive components especially in chassis area is underway. Higher stress acts on spring material due to its light weight design. The springs being used currently may not withstand very high stresses. Hence, there is a pressing need for the development of advanced spring steels with a combination of higher tensile strength (>2000 MPa), adequate ductility, improved low temperature creep resistance and better high cycle fatigue properties. This could be achieved by suitable alloying strategies, fabrication technologies and heat treatments. This consortium is aimed at developing an advanced spring steel grade with the improved mechanical properties by lab scale, pilot scale and industrial scale melting by continuous optimization of process parameters, fabrication technologies and heat treatments. The underlying micromechanics of plasticity leading to better mechanical properties in comparison to current state of the art materials will be determined by comprehensive microstructural characterization. Detailed experiments will be conducted and a phenomenological description will be developed to understand the improved low temperature creep properties based on the micromechanisms deduced. The role of residual stresses in imparting better low temperature creep properties and high cycle fatigue life will also be investigated. Springs will be manufactured out of the developed steel with optimized chemical composition and field tests will be conducted. This development of a new spring steel grade will be achieved by close interaction between a steel maker (JSW), academic institutes (UoH and USI) and the spring manufacturer (MUB).
For laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) a fine metal powder is solidified in layers using a focused laser beam. The properties of the product depend strongly on the uniformity of size and consistency of the powder particles. This project addresses the production of steel powder using a close coupled atomization and strives to better understand and model the process to achieve a uniform size and porosity of the powder particles. Generic experiments, numerical simulations and pilot plant operation are used in combination to develop validated, predictive capabilities and design guidelines for full scale facilities. Scientifically, the challenge lies in modeling the complex liquid metal atomization involving extreme process conditions and material properties. The results will be of immediate competitive benefit to the collaborating companies, one as a manufacturer of such facilities and one as an end user. Improved quality, lower cost and an expanded product design parameter space can be expected.
The development of safe and cost-effective high energy density all-solid-state lithium batteries can realize the dream of sustainable road transport system. Mainly two reasons are driving research on such systems. First, the state-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) with liquid electrolytes (LEs) pose safety and reliability issues due to their flammability and instability under harsh conditions. Second, the use of Li metal as an anode is not possible at the moment which limits the energy density of the batteries. In this regard, solid electrolytes (SEs) exhibit several advantages: SEs suppress Li dendrite formation, non-flammable and enable high power density for all-solid-state batteries (ASSBs). Despite their obvious advantages, the use of SSBs is currently delayed by the limited availability of stable and high performant Li+ transporting SEs.
The proposed research in SELBA directly addresses these key challenges via two routes. In one approach, the surface of selected Li+ transporting SEs will be modified suitably to attain increased interfacial stability and to reduce the grain boundary resistance. In a second approach, novel Li-containing and glassy fluoride compounds with high stability will be screened, and selected systems will be developed for enhanced Li+ conductivity and integration in solid-state battery cells.Read
Smart cities are envisioned to efficiently use two most critical resources: water and energy. Advanced techniques are being developed to conserve water. Similarly, renewable energy resources and smart devices are being implemented to meet the increasing electricity demand of the large population.
In reality, water management and energy efficiency are complementary to each other. On one hand, electricity from the renewable sources can be used to run water pumps or other components of the water treatment. On the other hand, during the oversupply of electricity from the renewable sources, e.g. water pumps can be made operational to create a balance of energy demand-supply in the electrical distribution network.
Coupling of cross commodity infrastructure and integration of energy storage is a challenge for smart cities. With respect to ICT this project addresses the challenge to bring intelligence closer to the device, which leads to distributed design. In such a system, highly integrated components from different sectors interact with each other to use available resources more efficiently and increase the overall performance.
The outcome of this project will be a system focusing the energy-water nexus comprising:
The integration of advanced energy storage technology and renewable energy sources to enable the coupling and modularization of electricity and water infrastructures.
A software platform that allows real-time monitoring, analysis and controlling based on the IEC 61499 industrial standard with the grounding of systems engineering techniques.
Optimization techniques for energy-efficient management of both water and electricity in the purview of the infrastructural constraints in the smart sustainable cities.Read
The Project proposes to develop a system for monitoring water quality in terms of specific bacterial cell/DNA and pharmaceutical residues. The system will consist of the following components.
(1) An in-line water sample collection and enrichment compartment.
(2) A system of microfluidic cartridges for bacteria cell capture, culture, amplification and detection in a short period of time.
(3) a system of micro-fluidic cartridges for capture and detection of pharmaceutical residues in short period of time.
(4) an integrated board that hosts all the compartments 1-3, reagent supply units, detection units and performs automated diagnostic tasks and a similar counterpart with micro-PCR for off-line diagnostics.
(5) a software framework to operate the integrated system, analyze the data collected over time and provide an appropriate early warning.
Project consortia will design the system in such a way that it can be installed in the water pipe-lines in the water treatment plant settings and in building infrastructure settings for remote monitoring.
Two different systems of micro-fluidic cartridges will be integrated. One will detect bacteria cells and DNA by taking advantage of cell counting and target DNA detection in amplified manner on nano-material assay and alternatively with off-line integrated micro-PCR. The other will detect molecules of a selected pharmaceutical, which is emerging to be harmful, on a combined immunoaffinity column using self-developed antibodies that is eluted into a microfluidic detection system. Target specification for detection of pathogen would be less than 100 cells in 1 CFU/ml and nanomolar concentration of target DNA detection within an hour.
Target standards for detection of pharmaceuticals will be 100 ng/L in 10 min. The system will be designed to operate in the post-filtration stage of water treatment plant settings and further downstream network of distribution systems in various scenarios, including water sample testing lab settings.Read
The overall project goal is to support the implementation of reliable and sustainable water and wastewater infrastructure systems (WIS) with added value for smart cities. Systematic planning methods and tools will be developed to face current and future challenges on three levels; conventional, advanced and smart WIS. E.g. automated planning based on mathematical optimisation to improve conventional sewerage system planning with incomplete planning data base.
Research on advanced level involves integration of decentralised and resource oriented approaches in planning processes as well as improved water pollution control. Smart WIS research provides interfaces for WIS integration in smart city planning. Synergies between WIS and city planning will be investigated and highlighted because they are motivating factors for implementation of smart WIS.
WIS measures that will be covered range from conventional over advanced to smart measures, e.g. water supply and distribution, wastewater and stormwater transport, stormwater retention and treatment, decentralised re-use of rain-, grey- or stormwater, nutrient and energy recovery, flooding protection, integration of water bodies in cities. The right combination of measures will be ascertained with help of the developed planning tools.
Application of developed methodologies and tools will be demonstrated in pilot studies in India (Coimbatore) and Germany (Giessen, Lindenberg, Aulendorf). Country-specific diverging conditions in the pilot cases, e.g. local climate, population density and existing infrastructure, lead to robust systems under varying conditions. Bilateral research teams, in cooperation with local stakeholders will identify smart WIS solutions to be integrated in city planning processes. Research results will be disseminated through training programs and utilised in planning services for local planners and decision makers.Read
Germanium (Ge) and Indium (In) are important elements for high-tech industry and their future supply is not assured. Copper (Cu) dust waste from smelters hold Ge and In, however, there is no technology for their recovery from these dusts. Further, the large volume of the produced Cu dust waste is challenge for Cu smelters.
This project proposes to develop environmental friendly and commercially viable technology for the recovery of In and Ge while decreasing the volume of Cu dust waste. The project encompasses preferential (bio)leaching of Ge and In from Cu smelter dust waste by optimizing various parameters followed by selective sorption. This project is very novel as it will apply the highly selective and sensitive siderophore and peptide based biosorptive biocomposites to recover In3+, and Ge4+ from the leachate.
This approach will also be applied to the waste from Cu metal powder and mould manufacturing for recovery of Cu. The project, for the first time, will attempt bioflotation for recovery of Cu mineral from Cu smelter dust with the help of biosorptive biocomposites. This project brings the (bio)leaching and reactor operations expertise of IIT Delhi together with design and production of biosorptives biocomposites of HZDR along with mine waste remediation know-how of GEOS with product characterization and life cycle assessment of LLS.Read
Through the pyrasol project, simple and robust processing technologies for urban organic waste is intended to combine in a synergetic manner and further develop to improve sanitation and welfare, supply regenerative energy, convert waste into products and reduce the carbon footprint of Smart Cities: an innovative solar sludge and waste drying system using the natural chimney effect followed by a high efficient single chamber pyrolysis process. The aim of the project is to offer an innovative and for smart cities adequate approach to transform urban organic waste into biochar and energy. Thus, optimum process and operation parameters of the solar dryer will be determined and a unique condensing boiler system developed and applied to the pyrolysis process. This is supplemented through a comprehensive evaluation of the value added chain from urban organic waste into biochar and energy and the application of biochar for land reclamation (long-term fertilizer, heavy metal adsorbent, etc.). As this valuable biochar is the only process output, this project contributes to the Zero Waste Approaches of Smart Cities.
IIT Madras, Chennai
The main aim of the project is to develop cost-effective, multiplexed label-free fiber optic array biosensor system for simultaneous detection of up to 7 or more waterborne pathogens that are prevalent in Indian sub-continent.
Multi-WAP proposes to develop multiplexed, rapid, accurate, label-free, and real-time method for continuous monitoring the multiple waterborne (faecal) pathogens present in water samples at low cost and high sensitivity (>90%). The analytical/diagnostic platform to be developed is an optical absorbance biosensor, with the prerequisite of having the ability to perform online measurements. Our ambition is to improve the analytical method further to function as a highly efficient screening method for the early detection of life-threatening waterborne diseases in resource-limited settings.
This project addresses a clearly identified need for tests which can significantly surpass the performance of the currently available water monitoring tests. Throughout this project, special attention will be paid to both end-user requirements (performance, cost, ease-of-use) and to manufacturability. The combination of low cost and high accuracy will be achieved through a unique integration of several state-of-the-art concepts, which the partners have separately developed and of which the integration maturity in Multi-WAP platform has to be tested.
IIT (Madras) shall develop the novel fiber optic sensor array with optoelectronic instrumentation and software. The German Research partner (IOT, Braunschweig) shall perform critical surface modifications of the fiber probes. The German industrial partner (LIONEX) shall produce highly specific antibodies to surface biomarkers of E. coli as model analytes and for waterborne faecal pathogens as final arrays followed by their immobilisation on biosensor. The Indian industrial partner (ubio) shall integrate in the device assembly and evaluate the final lab-device using model and pathogen contaminated water samples (along with LIONEX).
LIONEX shall do evaluation and compare the sensor performance with industry standard. Today, there are no analytical methods on the market that fulfil the criteria of being rapid, accurate, label-free, and online for the detection of waterborne pathogens. This is especially true when it comes to screening situations or the performance of diagnoses in resource-limited settings.Read
Europe and India face an epidemic of obesity and Type 2 diabetes (T2D). Development of T2D strongly correlate and very often predisposes to increased risk of many disabling chronic diseases including Lower Extremity Amputations (LEA). LEA affects about 15% of diabetic individuals during their life time. Disturbingly, the five-year mortality rate following amputation is reported at 40-70% suggesting the need for proper wound management strategies.
The risk of developing diabetic foot ulcers (DFU) for an individual with T2D is influenced by a complex interplay amongst multiple factors.The lack of protective sensation along with increased pressure due to neuropathy, leads to foot ulceration and thence rapidly colonized by bacteria leading to extensive infection. Infection is one of the major causes for delayed wound healing due to bacteremia and sepsis. Foot infections further substantially increases rates of morbidity, cost of treatment of DFU and also the risk of LEA significantly. Bacterial communities show diverse morphological and physiological characteristics and their bioburden in DFU show a distinct pattern of antibiotic resistance which significantly delays wound healing. Though infected ulcers require proper antibiotic therapy, rapid and accurate detection of polymicrobial communities in wound environment is critical in proper wound management. In this polymicrobial setting, we wish to develop a microfluidic based lab on chip for rapid and accurate detection of different types of bacteria, their virulence/fitness factors and antibiotic resistant genes that may contribute to dominance of certain types in DFU settings. The detection module would aid clinicians in decision-making process to improve specific outcomes that would concomitantly improve wound healing per se in DFU scenario. Further it would provide a better understanding of the underlying microbial communities to develop treatment regimens to suit responses to individuals’ lifestyle modifications.Read
Cornea has an intricate arrangement of collagen fibers encased in a cellular matrix. It has remarkable healing properties. Thus, surgical refractive procedures are one of the most common treatments in the world today. However, it is also well known that the cornea has a biomechanical response, which plays a significant role in refractive outcomes.
At the same time, it is vital that biomechanically weaker corneas are eliminated from the surgical population to avoid the risk of ectasia. There are newer flapless techniques of laser vision correction, which were developed with the hypothesis that it leaves the cornea biomechanically uncompromised. If the collagen in cornea degenerates, then the cornea becomes steeper and vision worsens. There are techniques available now where the cornea can be biomechanically strengthened. Biomechanics of the cornea also plays an important role in determination of intraocular pressure, which is the still the primary determinant of ocular hypertension. Thus, disease diagnostics and treatment planning require knowledge of biomechanical properties of the cornea. Biomechanics can also play an important role in monitoring treatment outcomes. There are several techniques being researched to quantify the in vivo corneal biomechanics, but none have been translated to the clinic so far. Thus, significant advancements in treatments are lacking. This project aims to develop a next generation dynamic Scheimpflug imaging device and biomechanical software analytics for in vivo quantification of corneal viscoelasticity. The specific aims of the project are to develop this device with high temporal resolution and location specific based corneal deformation measurement in response to air-puff, to develop fast computational algorithm for inverse estimation of biomechanical properties, and to validate the device and software in ex vivo and in vivo human subjects, both in normal and disease conditions.Read
Hearing impairment is one of the most common forms of disability and is widespread in countries like India. Children in rural areas suffer from this because of malnutrition and inadequate medical facilities. In urban areas many adults are continuously exposed to high levels of noise, particularly in their work environments (e.g., in factories or construction sites). With regular screening, hearing impairment may be detected early and treated.
While screening of newborns for hearing loss is slowly gaining momentum in India, it needs to be more widespread. However, monitoring children and adults regularly is almost non-prevalent. This is because the currently available screening equipment is expensive. Further, such equipment may only be used by specialists, who are in shortage. In this project we will completely re-engineer such a screening device in order to (i) significantly bring down its cost, and (ii) enable it to be used by laypersons in the same manner that we use blood pressure monitors or thermometers. More widespread availability of low-cost screening devices will enable their usage in schools, small healthcare centers, factories and construction sites. This in turn will help with the detection of the onset of hearing impairment and the affected patients may be referred for treatment early on, thereby significantly improving their chances of recovery or to prevent further deterioration. However, in order to significantly reduce the cost of screening devices, the newly designed devices will need to use a completely different hardware and software architecture, without sacrificing the quality of the screening. Developing such architectures and evaluating them are the main scientific goals of this project. In particular, we will rely on two main techniques: (i) offload the involved signal processing algorithms onto a mobile phone, and (ii) instead of using expensive and specialized probes, as is the case in existing screening equipment, we will use commercially available off-the-shelf components. This will introduce significant measurement distortions, which will be corrected using suitable signal processing algorithms. Since the usage and penetration of mobile phones even in rural areas in India is relatively high, designs based on such solutions will bring down the manufacturing cost. Further, since processors in mobile phones are now very powerful, the quality of screening may not be significantly sacrificed.Read